End-User Flexibilities in Digital Copyright Law – An Empirical Analysis of End-user License Agreements
Interactive Entertainment Law Review, 5(1), 2022, p. 2-21.
29 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2021 Last revised: 24 Oct 2022
Date Written: July 3, 2021
In the platform age, copyright-protected contents are primarily disseminated over the internet. This model poses various challenges to the copyright regime that was mainly designed in and for the analog age. One of these challenges is related to the fair balance between the interests of rightsholders and other members of society. Copyright norms try to guarantee this balance by granting a high level of protection for rightsholders and preserving some flexibility for end-users. Regulation by platforms’ end-user license agreements might also be relevant to preserve that balance.
The present paper focused on how these private norms allow for or diminish the exercise of user flexibilities. We collected, analyzed, and compared seventeen private ordering practices of service providers grouped in four main categories.
Our empirical examination demonstrated that intermediaries offer substantive flexibilities for their consumers, on the one hand, and they meaningfully limit the possibilities and decrease the expectations of end-users by restricting certain uses and providing limited access to contents, on the other hand. We measured the flexibility of the selected platforms, and we provided for the state of the art of platform flexibilities in the period preceding the implementation deadline of the EU’s CDSM Directive.
Keywords: copyright law, user flexibilities, platforms, private regulation, end-user license agreements
JEL Classification: L00, K10, K11, K19, K33, K39, O30, O33, O34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation